Air pollution is a critical issue in Asia. Sixty percent of 230 surveyed Asian cities had annual average concentrations of particulate matter (PM10) in 2008 that did not meet World Health Organization air quality interim targets and only one percent met the annual guideline. Eight of these cities were given an opportunity to significantly improve their management of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, through the application of the Clean Air Scorecard, as presented at the Better Air Quality (BAQ) Conference at Suntec Singapore.
The Clean Air Scorecard, developed by the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities (CAI-Asia) with support from the Asian Development Bank, is a practical assessment tool for cities to identify their strengths and potential improvement areas in addressing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The tool is composed of three indexes: Air Pollution and Health Index, Clean Air Management Capacity Index, and Policies and Action Index. These generate an overall clean air score for a city ranging from excellent to minimal.
“Rather than judging and ranking cities based on air pollution alone, it is important to also look at existing capacity, policies and measures as these are better indicators for their future levels of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions,” says Sophie Punte, Executive Director of the CAI-Asia Center.
Results presented at the BAQ conference showed that five of the piloted cities obtained an overall clean air score of ‘good:’ Bangkok, Hanoi, Jakarta, Jinan and Manila. The other three pilot cities - Colombo, Hangzhou, and Kathmandu - scored ‘moderate.’ While none of the surveyed cities received a ‘minimal’ score, neither did any of them score ‘excellent,’ showing there is ample room for improvement.
Another feature of the tool is that it integrated management of air pollution and GHG emissions. “ADB recognizes that climate change mitigation coupled with air quality strategies is necessary in order to meet a lot of our developmental objectives, like the region’s sustained economic growth, the MDGs, and poverty alleviation. The BAQ Conference offers good opportunities to deepen our understanding of the linkage between air pollution and climate change and how we can do this with the help of the Clean Air Scorecard,” said Nessim J. Ahmad, Director, Environment and Safeguard Division concurrently Practice Leader (Environment), ADB.
A joint ADB and CAI-Asia publication titled: “Knowledge Management on Air Quality: Case Studies” was also launched yesterday. The publication highlights the effectiveness of information communication technologies in the application of clean air scorecard in the CAI-Asia pilot cities through case studies.
CAI-Asia is planning to replicate the piloting of the scorecard in other Asian cities next year. Some cities already started using the results. At a recent Clean Air Summit in Nepal, government and stakeholders used results as basis for drafting a city action plan for Kathmandu. Facilitated by Clean Air Network Nepal (CAN-N), CAI-Asia’s Country Network, the multi-stakeholder forum focused on areas with low scores from the assessment and came up with concrete steps to address the gaps and reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in the city.
“The tool is very useful for cities who wish to cooperate with each other in regional air quality management as they are able to systematically compare status,” says Anjila Manandhar, Coordinator of CAN-N.
ABOUT BAQ 2010
BAQ 2010 is organized by CAI-Asia in partnership with the National Environment Agency, Land Transport Authority, Singapore Tourism Board, Asian Development Bank and World Bank. The conference will run from 9 to 11 November at Suntec Singapore. Policy makers and practitioners meet at BAQ to network, learn and share experiences. www.baq2010.org
CAI-Asia promotes better air quality and livable cities by translating knowledge to policies and actions that reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from transport, energy and other sectors. CAI-Asia is a registered UN Type II Partnership with almost 200 organizational members, eight Country Networks, and the CAI-Asia Center as its secretariat. It was established in 2001 by ADB, the World Bank and USAID as part of a global initiative that also includes Latin America and Sub Saharan Africa. www.cleanairinitiative.org
FOR MORE INFORMATION
About Clean Air Scorecard: http://cleanairinitiative.org/portal/Scorecard
About Air Quality Status and Trends 2010: http://cleanairinitiative.org/portal/node/3869
Knowledge Management on Air Quality: Case Studies http://cleanairinitiative.org/portal/KMonCaseStudies
General media queries:
Ritchie Anne Roňo
BAQ Tel: 65 8253 0189
Clean Air Scorecard: